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"This morning we had a feeling something could happen during the race. We were awake, ready for any action in the peloton. After the bonification there was a group that took a small gap. So we went, Kwiato, Cav and I."

Photo: © Etixx - Quick-Step / Tim de Waele






11.07.2015 @ 21:36 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Etixx - Quick-Step rider Michal Golas was part of a 17 rider chase group that went away after the intermediate sprint of 181.5km Tour de France Stage 8 on Saturday, and the Polish rider was able to stay up the road until 7.9km remained in the stage.


The stage was decided out of late attacks on the 2km Mûr-de-Bretagne finale, which has an average gradient of 6.9 percent. Alexis Vuillermoz (AG2R - La Mondiale) won solo after attacking with 800m to go, which was the second time he was part of an attack on the final climb. Dan Martin (Cannondale-Garmin) tried to chase him down alone, but finished 2nd. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) finished 3rd in the group behind. Rigoberto Uran was 15th out of that group, which finished 10" down on Vuillermoz.


Uran remains in 6th GC, 34" down on Chris Froome (Team Sky) in the race lead. Zdenek Stybar, who was 8th in the GC going into the stage, moves to 9th (+1'15") overall with a 38th place stage finish.


Golas, Michal Kwiatkowski, and Mark Cavendish were part of the attack group that caught four original breakaway riders. Golas soon accelerated, with only Lars Bak (Lotto Soudal), and Bartosz Huzarski (Bora-Argon 18) going with him. The three leaders had a 20" on the chasers, and 36" to the peloton with 64.7km remaining in the race. The peloton was satisfied with the new selection, letting the trio get more than a minute advantage as kilometers passed. They soon caught the other chasers.


However, with 11.8km to go the gap was at just 31", and then Tinkoff-Saxo took over on the front. Golas and Bak decided to keep trying to stay way, clinging to just 12" with 9km to go. They were caught about two kilometers later. The peloton then remained mostly together until the pace picked up in the final kilometers, in preparation for the last climb. 


Etixx - Quick-Step looks next to the Stage 9 TTT that concludes the first week of racing at Le Tour de France. The team time trial is 28km in total distance from Vannes to Plumelec. This is a hilly time trial including the Côte de Cadoudal (1.7km, 6.2%) to conclude the race against the clock.


"This morning we had a feeling something could happen during the race," Golas said. "We were awake, ready for any action in the peloton. After the bonification there was a group that took a small gap. So we went, Kwiato, Cav and I, just to see because you never know.


"If it's a good reaction you can take advantage. But of course the group saw a lot of strong guys in the selection and controlled the gap. Also the guys were looking a bit to each other, so we took advantage and we went as a group of three.


"It was really full gas from that point until the moment they caught us. In the end it was a nice selection, but in a race like it is difficult to go to the finish. Especially with the finish on the Mûr de Bretagne, which was the first chance for the GC guys to show themselves.


"Now we look forward to the TTT tomorrow, having already won a few stages, and we put Tony in yellow before his unfortunate crash. It's been quite a week where Etixx – Quick-Step has always been in the actions."



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